Maurice Tourneur

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Via_Chicago
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Maurice Tourneur

#1 Post by Via_Chicago » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:26 pm

Maurice Tourneur (1873-1961)

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"What we need for the cinema today is authors. There are few real screen authors. Whether acknowledged or not, nearly everything worth while in the pictures is an adaptation of a book, a play, a poem. A new sort of creative literary brain must develop for filmdom. There must be a better and a more natural showing of human nature, in which the conflicting sides, both good and bad, are shown in their true combination."

Filmmography

Jean la Poudre (1912)
Soueurette (1913)
Les Ruses de l'amour (1913)
Mademoiselle 100 millions (1913)
Les gaîtés de l'escadron (1913)
Le dernier pardon (1913)
La Dame de Monsoreau (1913)
Le camée (1913)
La bergère d'Ivry (1913)
Le système du docteur Goudron et du professeur Plume (1913)
Rouletabille (1914)
Monsieur Lecoq (1914)
Figures de cire (1914)
La dernière incarnation de Larsan (1914)
Le friquet (1914)
Le puit mitoyen (1914)
Le corso rouge (1914)
Mother (1914)
Man of the Hour (1914)
The Wishing Ring: An Idyll of Old England (1914) Image (R1)
The Pit (1914)
Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915)
The Cub (1915)
The Ivory Snuff Box (1915)
Trilby (1915)
A Butterfly on the Wheel (1915)
Pawn of Fate (1916)
The Hand of Peril (1916)
The Closed Road (1916)
The Rail Rider (1916)
The Velvet Paw (1916)
The Pride of the Clan (1917) Grapevine Video (R1)
A Girl's Folly (1917) Image (R1)
The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)
The Whip (1917)
The Undying Flame (1917)
Law of the Land (1917)
Barbary Sheep (1917)
Exile (1917)
The Rise of Jenny Cushing (1917)
Rose of the World (1918)
The Blue Bird (1918) Kino (R1)/Grapevine Video (R1)
Prunella (1918)
A Doll's House (1918)
Sporting Life (1918)
Woman (1918)
The White Heather (1919)
The Life Line (1919)
The Broken Butterfly (1919)
Victory (1919) Image (R1)
My Lady's Garter (1920)
Treasure Island (1920)
The White Circle (1920)
The Great Redeemer (1920)
The County Fair (1920)
Deep Waters (1920)
The Last of the Mohicans (1920) Synergy Entertainment (R0)/Sling Shot (R0)
The Bait (1921)
The Foolish Matrons (1921)
Lorna Doone (1922) Kino (R1)/Grapevine Video (R1)
The Brass Bottle (1923)
The Christian (1923)
While Paris Sleeps (1923)
The Isle of Lost Ships (1923)
Jealous Husbands (1923)
Torment (1924)
The White Moth (1924)
Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925)
Sporting Life (1925)
Clothes Make the Pirate (1925)
Old Loves and New (1926)
Aloma of the South Seas (1926)
L'équipage (1928)
Das schiff der verlorenen Menschen (1929)
The Mysterious Island (1929) [uncredited]
Accusée, levez-vous! (1930) Pathé (R2)
Maison de danses (1931)
Partir (1931)
Au nom de la loi (1932)
Les gaietés de l'escandron (1932)
Lidoire (1933)
L'homme mystérieux (1933)
Les deux orphelines (1933)
Le voleur (1934)
Königsmark (1935)
Justin de Marseille (1935)
Koenigsmark (1935) [alternate language version]
Samson (1936)
Avec le sourire (1936)
Le patriote (1938)
Katia (1938)
Volpone (1941) René Château (R2)
Péchés de jeunesse (1941)
Mam'zelle Bonaparte (1942)
La main du diable (1943)
Le val d'enfer (1943)
Cécile est morte! (1944)
Après l'amour (1948) René Château (R2)
Impasse des deux anges (1948)

Web Resources

Maurice Tourneur - Wikipedia

Maurice Tourneur - IMDb Biography

A reflection on Maurice Tourneur from motion within motion

Analysis of Tourneur's Le main du diable

Original New York Times review of Woman

A collection of period articles and interviews with Tourneur (an indispensable resource)

Michael E. Gost on the films of Maurice Tourneur

Books

Maurice Tourneur: The Life and Films by Harry Waldman
Last edited by Via_Chicago on Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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tryavna
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#2 Post by tryavna » Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:23 pm

Looking forward to engaging in discussion about this all-too-unavailable director. For now, however, I just wanted to point out that David Shepard released two DVDs that contain three of Tourneur's films:

There's an Image DVD for Victory (paired with an early film Lon Chaney did for Tod Browning).

And both The Wishing Ring (a superb movie!) and most of A Girl's Folly appears on the Image DVD with the complicated title Before Hollywood, There was Ft. Lee, New Jersey.

I believe that Alias Jimmy Valentine appeared on the Origins of Film boxset, but that's now OOP and I don't have it myself.

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#3 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:24 am

Ah yes! Victory-- I quite liked that film. Very meticulous pictorialism... now I hafta pull out my double feature.

Nice call tryavna..

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tryavna
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#4 Post by tryavna » Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:02 pm

Yes, Victory is outstanding. It's one of the few island-adventure movies that really incorporates the threatening-volcano convention well into the tension of the story and the psychology of the characters. I also really like the performance of the actor who plays the leader of the gang -- it's like a prototype for all the "gentleman villains" to come (including James Mason's in Lord Jim). I understand that this was the only adaptation of his work that Joseph Conrad ever saw; I wonder what he thought of it...?

Really, though, Tourneur seems to have been on-fire from 1914 through 1922. Every one of his films from that period that I've seen has been excellent. Unfortunately, I've only seen six: The Wishing Ring, A Girl's Folly, The Blue Bird, Victory, Last of the Mohicans, and Lorna Doone. (And of his later work, I've only seen The Mysterious Island.) I've been meaning to track down Alias Jimmy Valentine through ILL. Why this master filmmaker isn't better represented on DVD is a great mystery to me.

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#5 Post by Knappen » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:39 pm

Some months ago I saw through the MT films I had stacked up over a long period of time and have now seen more than 20 of his films.

For me his peak comes from 1935 to 1943. I really like Victory but the other silents didn't make that much of an impression on me. La Main du diable is an obvious peak, but things like Val d'enfer and Justin de Marseille are also films to check out.

This is how Justin looked on French tv last year:

Image
Image
Image
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tryavna
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#6 Post by tryavna » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:44 pm

Beautiful caps. Thanks, Knappen. I haven't seen any of Tourneur's French talkies, so I can't comment at all on the comparitive superiority of them over the silents or vice versa. (Not speaking French, I'm afraid that boots of the TV airings wouldn't do me much good either.) I am surprised, however, that his silents didn't leave more of an impression on you. I would think that, if you liked the pictorialism (as Schreck nicely puts it) of Victory, you'd also be inclined to like both Last of the Mohicans and Lorna Doone. I could see not liking the stylization of Blue Bird or some of the technological limitations of Wishing Ring, though they're just as good in my opinion.

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#7 Post by Knappen » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:54 pm

Come to think of it I think I struggled most with Poor little rich girl because I only had a copy with Spanish intertitles. Blue bird was corny but good fun. I should probably modify my statement by saying that I prefer the French talkies without devaluating the silents. The Mysterious Island probably shouldn't be counted as a MT film from what I have heard. Anyway I found that film immensely boring.

BTW the biography on the IMDb must be one of the longest concerning a filmmaker like Tourneur.

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#8 Post by HerrSchreck » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:02 pm

The Blue Bird was one of the most vibrant surprises of the American silent era, particularly pre-1920! (A perfect example-- for running such a nice transfer and bringing it out on dvd-- of why we hafta give ongoing props to Kino.)

It may be a kiddies fable, but the mood and stylization, and the extremely loose conception of this netherworld (and the toggling back & forth between the wonderfully chilly & snowy country-location shooting and the stage bound shadowy artifice) is wonderful... not to mention the amazingly naturalistic performances MT got from those two kids, who look like they're having an absolute blast making the film. It's an absolutely unique piece of cinema, and a very early example of the "for everybody" gothicism that Universal in the silent era viz Chaney and via Whale in the sound era specialized in.

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tryavna
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#9 Post by tryavna » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:14 pm

I have to agree with Schreck about Blue Bird; it's one of the best films of its era. Corny its content may be, but Tourneur's handling of lighting, acting, and visual effects is masterful and poetic. And as Schreck points out, the two lead kids are giving it everything they've got.

As for Mysterious Island, I've always understood that Tourneur handled large sections of the silent segments -- which of course are the only watchable portions of the movie. They certainly have elements of the fantasy that you find in The Blue Bird and, from the descriptions I've read, some of Tourneur's other silent films. At any rate, I'd like to think that Tourneur had something to do with the underwater sequences, since it provides a nice analogy to his son's final Hollywood film: War-Gods of the Deep (which is equally flawed, though more watchable).

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#10 Post by Danny Burk » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:10 pm

I haven't seen any of his talkies at all, but have liked nearly all* of the silents I've seen. Of course I enjoy their fine pictorial sense...rather pre-Ingram in a way, and I suspect that Tourneur had quite an influence on Ingram.

*The only one that I didn't care for is THE WHITE MOTH, although the quality was bad enough that whatever pictorial beauty it may have had is no longer present.

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#11 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:54 am

For anyone who hasn't seen the filmLast of the Mohicans was thrown up on the archive.

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Ann Harding
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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#12 Post by Ann Harding » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:15 pm

Kevin Brownlow and I talked about Maurice Tourneur in the following interview.

For the English translation, click here.

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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#13 Post by Knappen » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:32 pm

Bienvenue à Criterionforum, Ann!

I have read some of your interesting posts on DVDClassik.

I think the link to the original interview got lost somehow.

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Ann Harding
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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#14 Post by Ann Harding » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:10 pm

Thanks Knappen for including the original link. :wink:

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#15 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:34 pm

I've just been reading about Tourneur in William K. Everson's American Silent Film, and The Wishing Ring and The Last of the Mohicans stand out as movies that seem worth seeking out. For the former- has the Image version just totally disappeared? I don't see even a listing for it on Amazon. For the latter- is there a preferable DVD release, or should I just watch the PD version?

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knives
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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#16 Post by knives » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:36 pm

I'm pretty sure there's an Image disc for the later which is great. At the very least the copy Netflix used to stock is pretty great. It's a great film be any measure though and worth running after.

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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#17 Post by Tuco » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:01 pm

I can second the high opinion of Last of the Mohicans. Saw it on VHS back in the Dark Ages...

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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#18 Post by Jonathan S » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:42 am

The best edition of Mohicans is the one shown occasionally on TCM, and prepared some years ago by David Shepard, with the restored original intertitles and a new score by Mont Alto. Last I heard there were no plans to release it on DVD. The old Slingshot DVD (which appears to have been subsequently copied, sometimes on DVD-R issues and with different music, by other small labels) has decent image quality but re-made modern intertitles and a very inferior score.

The Wishing Ring is included in this collection, also by Shepard. I gather that many of his older Image releases are now actually on DVD-Rs, even though Amazon don't state this. I don't know whether there are still pressed stocks of that one.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#19 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:17 am

Great, that's a big help. Shame about Mohicans, though.

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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#20 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:01 pm

There is a decent (or so it seems to me) Slingshot DVD release of Mohicans, supposedly based on a restored source at Eastman House -- with music composed by one R.J. Miller (not bad overall).

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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#21 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:05 am

Péchés de Jeunesse coming from Gaumont a la demande in early summer. French HOH only.

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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#22 Post by RodneySauer » Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:52 pm

Hi, this is Rodney Sauer of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra -- there is a plan to release The Last of the Mohicans along with two other films on Native American topics: The Vanishing American and The Silent Enemy (the last of which will also have our score, which we have played live in Arkansas, Colorado, and at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival). I can't yet say the label, but the rough schedule is some time in the next year or so.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#23 Post by matrixschmatrix » Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:28 pm

Oh, that's exciting. Thanks for letting us know.

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knives
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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#24 Post by knives » Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:13 pm

Sweet, those last two sound great. Given their previous releases I think it's fair to assume this is Milestone.

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Ann Harding
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Re: Maurice Tourneur

#25 Post by Ann Harding » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:18 pm

Image
Just a quick message to announce the release by the end of January of the first in-depth biography of this great director. You can already pre-order it from my publisher, La Tour Verte.
I researched thoroughly his life and career in America and in Europe. The book contains many rare photographs. It will be available from amazon.fr by the end of the month.

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